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Arlow, J.A. (1992). The Lost Childhood: By Yehuda Nir. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989. 256 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:463-464.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:463-464

The Lost Childhood: By Yehuda Nir. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989. 256 pp.

Review by:
Jacob A. Arlow

The account of every victim of the Holocaust is unique. To experience terror without end, to fear impending death without relief, must be almost too difficult to recollect, impossible to communicate. Within the barbed wire fences of the concentration camps, the borders of doom were unmistakably delineated. The enemy was ever-present and clearly visible. But there are other stories that some survivors have to tell, very different but in many ways very similar to the experience of the survivors of concentration camps. Such was the fate of a small number of Jews who, having obtained forged identity papers, passed to the outside world as non-Jews. They too lived in a concentration camp, a vast concentration camp without walls. Terror and the threat of death accompanied their every step. Who suspects? Who knows? Who will betray? These were the ever-present concerns that colored every human contact. Every human encounter demanded an immediate life-and-death decision.

Such is the story Yehuda Nir has to tell in his moving memoir, fittingly entitled The Lost Childhood. Son of a wealthy merchant in the Polish city of Lwow, Yehuda was almost ten and experiencing the first stirrings of romantic love when the Second World War changed the quality of his childhood forever.

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